Wednesday, October 14, 2015

8 months! 1lb! That's it and now I can focus on everything else

So, I did it. 
From start to finish, those fish grew and were harvested.  At just over 7 months they were about 1lb each.
The first batch were not terribly tasty - i'm going to try just letting them soak in an overpowering marinade and see if that makes them better.
The second batch smelled good at least - haven't gotten around to eating any yet.  Likely because of the higher quality pellet food I was giving them.
Man, though.  They have hard heads!  It was a tough job knocking them out, and then beheading.
I've got a few pics, including their teeth.  Pretty interesting stuff.  At the size they were, they became fairly docile as they were the last in the bucket.  Probably as a result of oxygen starvation.

So, improvements for next year
 : definitely get hydroponics attached.  It is way too hard to keep them alive in clean water without something taking the nitrogen out.
 : better heating system.  Very dangerous, precarious setup that ultimately failed in the last week and cost me a 300 watt heater.
 : better food.  A good part of their flavour is the crazy vegetation they eat - nuts, etc.  So, get some home made food into them.
Warning - Gruesome pics follow.

 Got a little excited and missed one of the measures

From the demonstration of our friends Dayna and Chad, so I'll remember how to clean a fish in the future

Learning by doing

Not a bad size

Check out those teeth!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

First cull was less than delicious, must harvest the rest soon

Temperatures are now getting down to 4C and lower at night, which means I need to harvest them all quite soon.  They didn't eat their pellets yesterday, which is a pretty sure sign of cold waters.

The first cull meat was poor tasting.  I'll try just making it a vehicle for garlic and butter and try again, but we'll see.  I hope the food I fed 2 days ago didn't just muddy the water and make this next batch taste like garbage as well.

They've been on a trout pellet for the last 2 months, so the meat should taste different, at a minimum.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

20kWh week inside, and fish have been moved!

The fish are outside!  How great is that!  I put one in on Friday to confirm it wasn't toxic water, and it survived till Monday, so they all got moved last night!
Not great for them; they are pretty freaked out.  I'm trying to quickly source some structure to place in their tank so that they can feel safe and relax a bit. But they're out there!  Huzzah!

The tank they were in was unable to keep up with the bioload, and for the last 2 weeks was cloudy from high nitrites and nitrates (and likely, as well, ammonia).  But they soldiered on through it!  So now it's about sourcing a cheap source for pellets, and ensuring the filter is getting enough water through it, which doesn't look like the case right now.

The indoor part of the setup, with 1 heater and 3 filters, 1x4' T5HO fluorescent light, and a supplemental light for the plants growing in the filter, takes 20kWh of electricity per week.
In Manitoba that's about 7 cents/kWh, so, quick math says about 30$ so far. 
We've been enduring a heat wave that has kept temperatures quite high here, so the heaters in the IBC have not been going hard to maintain temperatures.  I'll get a monitor out there ASAP.

Interesting note from the transfer process: fish don't like to be netted, brought into the air, and then put into a bucket that is just barely bigger than them.
Also, some fish can make a 3 foot jump from 10" of water.

Some pics!
Me with a lot of water on me.  Those guys can SPLASH.

See the tails (a little beat up) in the middle of the pic?  They're in the IBC!

This is them pretending they're flounders and lying on one side to keep an eye on me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Preparing the exterior aquarium

Still gotta wrap this in plastic and seal it up as much as possible to insulate it, but here is the exterior aquarium as of yesterday.

Running a 300 watt heater that I am sure works, and a 300 watt heater that might work to heat things up, it may be slowly warming.  I may use the end of some spray foam cans to seal and glue it all together.

I plugged the power meter into the downstairs tank on Sunday at 5pm, so in one week I will be able to estimate the per-week cost of running this setup.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Prepping for the move to the outside tank

Maybe 3 people will ever read this.  Huzzah!
So, the IBC is full of water, and the heatwave we're experiencing is really helping by increasing the temperature of the water.  Now, I have to come up with a way to maintain the heat.
1 - Insulation!  I will surround it with an inch(ish) of styrofoam, including the top, and leave a hatch for feeding
2 - Heating!  this is the problem.  The fish will smash any glass heaters, the heaters will melt the side of the IBC, so what do I do?  At the moment I'm thinking about floating a glass heater with it's plastic guard in a piece of styrofoam.  My hope is that would be sufficient: one 300 watt heater.  With the insulation, it should be sufficient, right?

I realized yesterday I can move one or two first, lowering the nitrogen pressure on the downstairs tank, and literally testing the waters of the outside tank.

This may still work!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Let's just be honest

I have not, and may never, do 2 water changes in a single week.  I'm not that good a person.
Things have been crazy with having a kid on the way, and getting the house ready for that.  I'm barely keeping up.

The fish just eat and poop, and get horrible wounds.
This one guy - it was so gross - did something weird - seriously, so gross - and burned or tore open half his face - no shit, super super gross - and so it's got this big white half T like a gross half handlebar mustache of ragged flesh.
Super gross.
And, just after it happened, while some of that flesh that came off was still attached, (guys, its so gross, stop reading), it would kind of spit the skin out, while it was still attached and (stop reading now) suck it back in, chew on it for a bit, and then spit it back out and suck it back in...
The fish are huge now.  10+ inches for about half of them.
I may have posted this photo before.  HUGE.  Water parameters are still stable except for Nitrates (100ppmish).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So, filthy water

I am going to have to change to twice weekly water changes, if I don't get the hydroponics going soon.  They get up to 100ish ppm of nitrate in a week.  They eat so much.  They clog several filters.


There is some pretty significant differentiation by size of these kids.  Some are over 6", some are about 5".  They are all starting to get beat up from being in the small, scratchy space I've given them.  Unfortunately, as this past weekend has shown, I can't be sure that the outside will be warm enough for them right away.  We had over an inch of snow, and winds of 80km/h for the weekend.  That creates some interesting design challenges.
Gave a presentation on the weekend about my setup.